Wicketkeeper Devon Nelson was the star of the show on Friday night, hitting 45 runs before taking two catches and effecting a stumping to help Valiants Sports upset Jenexcon Tableland in the rain-affected Championship Division Twenty20 final at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre.
His innings in front of the stumps helped the La Romaine team overcome a wobbly start to reach 135 for six when they won the toss and elected to bat first.
Nelson’s actions behind the stumps then put his team in control as Tableland limped to 58 for six in 12.1 overs when rain forced the players off the field giving Valiants a 31-run win on the Duckworth/Lewis method.
The wicketkeeper, who won awards for the Man-of-the-Match, Best Batsman, Best Fieldsman and Most Sixes in the final, got the fans on their feet when he collected a wide leg-side ball from Chris Pattia behind the back of Ellon Lewis and quickly removed the bails to send the Tableland opening batsman on his way in the third over of the chase with the score on 11.
Even before that dismissal, Tableland were in some trouble, losing Amando Patterson (zero) in the second over, trapped lbw by Pattia’s first delivery of the match.
Elijah St Clair also departed without scoring, caught behind by Nelson with the score on 15.
With three wickets down and nowhere close to their target, Tableland were banking on the experience of Lincoln Roberts to get them over the line.
But Nelson again intervened, taking a good close catch behind the stumps to send the veteran batsman on his way as Roberts tried to cut left-arm spinner Akiel Timothy and got an under edge. Roberts only made 14.
That was the beginning of the end for Tableland. Left-arm spinner Magnum Nanan bowled Daniel St Clair shortly after and when Kenton Thompson was trapped lbw by off-spinner Junior Gibbs for a top score of 16, the rain intervened to put an end to proceedings.
There was a possibility of a restart with Tableland being given a revised target of 118 to win off 16 overs but rain came again as the players made their way out to the middle and the umpires called for the covers for the final time on the night.
Earlier, Nelson revived the Valiants innings after they had slipped to 16 for two in the third over. He got going with a four off pacer Keegan Roy to get off the mark.
But Nelson was forced to slow down in the middle overs as the score progressed to 85 when he was caught off the bowling of Thompson in the 15th over. His knock included three sixes and came off 47 balls.
Thompson won the award for Best Bowler in the final, taking three for 17.
Marcus Richards struck pacer Brent Harriot for two fours in one over in a 19-ball 23 before Akiel Timothy’s 16-ball unbeaten 22 boosted the total with the batsman hitting Brent Harriot for consecutive fours off the final two balls of their innings.
The total proved too much for the South Championship League winners, Tableland, who never got going in their chase.
Valiants pocketed $50,000 for winning the Championship T20 title while Tableland went home with $35,000.
Awards for final:
Best Batsman: Devon Nelson
Best Bowler: Kenton Thompson
Most Sixes: Devon Nelson (Valiants)
Best Fieldsman: Devon Nelson